British Columbia

Bomb threat forces Korean Air jet to land in B.C.

The crew of a Korean Air 777 airliner was forced to make an emergency landing at a military airbase on Vancouver Island after the airline received its second bomb threat in two days.

2nd threat in 2 days causes diversion to Vancouver Island military base

The crew of a Korean Air 777 airliner was forced to make an emergency landing at a military airbase on Vancouver Island after the airline received its second bomb threat in two days.

Korean Air Flight 72, with 149 people on board, had taken off from Vancouver International Airport headed for Seoul, South Korea, at 2:30 p.m. PT Tuesday.

The crew turned back off the north coast of B.C. after a bomb threat was made in a telephone call to the airline's Los Angeles office, a Korean Air spokesman told CBC News.

The flight was diverted to the airbase at Comox, on Vancouver Island, escorted by U.S. air force F-15 fighter jets that had been scrambled from Portland, Ore., according  to Victoria's Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre. 

Another threat was phoned in on Monday against Korean Air Flight 72 before it took off, forcing a two-hour delay as RCMP cleared passengers off the aircraft to check for explosive devices, said James Koh, of Korean Air's Vancouver office.

Koh said the caller spoke English and authorities have a voice recording of both calls and are investigating.

Tuesday's flight landed at about 5:50 p.m. PT without incident.

A Korean Air official said that all the passengers and crew are safe and that the airline "is conducting a safety inspection now and will evaluate a new departure time after discussion."

Passengers spend night in hotel

The passengers and crew spent Tuesday night at hotel in the Comox area. Officials plan to conduct a detailed search of the plane's luggage on Wednesday, and no decision on when the flight might actually take off had been made by early morning.

With a population of about 12,000 people, Comox is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, about 180 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

"From time to time planes do get diverted here for weather reasons," said Comox Mayor Paul Ives. "But this is the first time in a long time I would imagine that we've had this kind of diversion."

Ives said the base's 3,000-metre-long airstrip is the longest on Canada's west coast outside of Vancouver and serves the military and a civilian airport.

Ben Mittelsteadt, a spokesman for the BC Ambulance Service, said four ambulances were at the airport but no patients were being treated.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press